Deer can cause minor and extensive damage to cedar trees and seedlings. Deer rip at and snap off branches and bark while feeding, especially when food is scarce, and the tender leaves of the cedar make an attractive snack. Continued damage to a cedar by a deer may stunt its growth, open the cedar to disease and eventually kill the tree. Repelling the animals and protecting cedar trees can stop the deer from grazing.
Things You'll Need
Wire mesh caging
Wire mesh or electric fencing
Apply deer repellent to or around the tree. Repellent products come in various forms, including liquid, hanging pouches and mild electric shock deterrents. Follow all directions and replace or reapply as needed. Try different repellents to find the most effective one.
Enclose cedar seedlings and young, small trees in wire mesh cages. Carefully wrap the mesh around and over the top of the seedling and secure the mesh to the ground. Do not tightly bind the mesh to the seedling.
Surround taller cedars with fencing. Use wire mesh. Build the fence high enough to stop the deer from jumping, typically between 6 and 8 feet. Extend the fence higher as the tree grows until the top is out of the reach of the deer, commonly once the tree grows over 10 feet. Fill in gaps or holes in the ground around the fenced area with solid material, such as stone.
Enclose the tree area with fencing for severe problems. Use wire mesh or electric, but consider the cost and upkeep of each type. Electric fencing is less expensive but may need more upkeep than wire mesh. Install fencing that is at least 8 feet tall. Stuff gaps with stones or other items.
Unconventional deer repellent remedies, such as stringing bars of soap from the cedar, may succeed but typically require more work.
- Cedars for the Au Sable: Planting and Care of Cedar Trees
- State of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Living With Wildlife; Deer; Russell Link
- Michigan State University AgBio Research; "Northern White-Cedar Regeneration: Promise and Problems"; Ray Miller; 1997
- Utah State University; Utah State Today; "How Can I Discourage Deer From Dining In My Yard?"; Jerry Goodspeed; October 2009